Every so often, our editorial staff selects one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better. Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator. In today’s installment of “Five Minutes With,” we want to introduce you to Danielle Orlando, general manager of marketing for NGK Spark Plugs – Aftermarket Division, located in Wixom, Michigan.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the aftermarket was as a marketing manager for Trico Products. I was responsible for all brand marketing communications as well as developing their category management program.
What do you like best about your current position?
I am very fortunate to have a great team – very creative, talented and dedicated. As a brand marketer, I’m also very fortunate to work for a strong brand that many people are passionate about. And the best part is we are expanding our brand and product portfolio beyond the traditional spark plugs that we have been known for. We continue to expand the NGK Ignition Specialist portfolio to new spark plugs technology, coils and wiresets. NTK, known for our OE oxygen sensors is now expanding into more than 86 technical sensors and we have also added a new advanced vehicle electronic product portfolio under the new WVE brand. So it is a very exciting time for NGK Spark Plugs and my career.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
I fell into the aftermarket, however I have worked within automotive my entire career. I started my career on the advertising agency side working for automotive accounts like GM and Audi and then shifted over to the OEM side to work for Audi of America. When Audi decided to move out of Michigan and I didn’t want to relocate, I found myself re-evaluating what I wanted to do next. I found the marketing manager role at TRICO and it was perfect because it allowed me to stay in a role that I loved but also learn more about the category management side of business in a very dynamic and ever-evolving aftermarket industry.
What do you do when not at work?
When I am not working, I really enjoy relaxing with friends, family and spending time with my various pups. I have a dog (a shepherd mix) whose personality makes me laugh every day but I also dog sit for my friends and family whenever needed.
Although I travel a lot for work, I also really enjoy personal travel and I try to make a point to plan one “big trip” every year – typically abroad. My brother and I did a tour of Egypt two years ago and it was incredible – the history, the culture, the foresight, the unexplainable … I may now believe in alien life.
What one word best sums up your personality?
Loyal. I’m very loyal – loyal to my brands, loyal to the people in my personal and professional life.
What kind of car do you drive?
I drive an Audi A3 – I love Audi vehicles. In a lot of ways I really learned to drive and be a more confident driver in Audi vehicles. Working for them for six years, they encouraged us to truly push the car to its limits because the technology and precision would deliver.
Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood hero and hero today is my grandfather. He worked most of his career at General Tire. Growing up I didn’t know exactly what he did but he always had his briefcase and note pad. He finally brought a briefcase home for me one day so I could play “business” and that was the start of my story and drive.
Simple: “Live. Love. Laugh.” Its easy to just go through the motions in life, but these three words remind me to be present in the moment and allow myself to truly ‘feel’ all the things this crazy life has to offer.
Know someone who would love to be featured in Five Minutes With? Email editor Amy Antenora at [email protected].